I live with Parkinson’s — with its challenges — every day, every hour.
Wisdom from a variety of commencement speakers, excerpted in the July 15 issue of The Week offers support to transforming life’s troubles for graduates, for those with diagnoses, for a nation. Toni Morrison encourages looking beyond the pursuit of happiness to that of meaningfulness. Samantha Power suggests being fully present. Jonathan Franzen talks of real love.
Such yogic advice. Especially since living with one life challenge doesn’t grant me a Get Out of Jail Free card for other ailments. Colds happen. Sprains and bug bites and headaches, too.
I turn to yoga.
But, I also carry a little white card in my wallet. It lists my doctors and the medications I take. If I’m in a car accident or get knocked unconscious by an overzealous sports fan, my neurologist can be alerted and the hospital can be sure I don’t miss my next dose of Sinamet.
Oh, unless I fall ill in Alabama. Under the recently passed Alabama Immigration Law, if a driver doesn’t want to be arrested for knowingly transporting an illegal alien, that passerby or EMT will be checking my wallet for a green card, not that little white one, even if I’m bleeding all over said wallet.
Hesitation has its place. Stop and look both ways before crossing the street. Bite your tongue instead of cursing at your in-laws. Check the math before paying the restaurant tab.
In yoga, we pause. We take a moment to be in that moment, to breathe, to check inside for a peaceful place.
Toni Morrison’s commencement address on ‘doing good’ instead of ‘looking good’ makes one pause and consider. I can only hope that the moment of hesitation when a kid in Alabama falls off his bike into traffic is to check which hospital is closest, not to check the color of his skin.